I am Brought up by Mexican immigrant parents and was born and raised in the US.
Growing up, I knew I was a little different than my Latinx familia. I remember my dad explaining to my 10 year old self that my cousins are Mexican and that me and my sister are Mexican-American. I was often times confused because I wanted to be like my cousins. I did not want to claim the American part of my identity. I did not understand. My father would often times explain that we had a lot more opportunities than my cousins and that we must never take for granted. “We must work hard for them. We must work hard for those who have to work even harder just to get what you have”.
Being a Latinx US born citizen, this privilege has opened many doors and opportunities. Because claiming our American part of our identities, gave us privilege. A Latinx privilege that I had as a child and continue to have.
Growing up, I remember my dad speaking a lot of English to me and (at the time) my younger sister. He wanted to make sure that we weren’t seen as non-English speaking Latinx. It was important for him to have his daughter’s claim the Mexican-American in us. Because we have the American part in our identities, it would keep us from being treated differently. (So he hoped, given that we are seen as minorities in society).
What Latinx privilege means to me is that we are not all marginalized in the same way. We are perpetuating systems of oppression through our privileged identities.
For one, immigration status: I did not have to fear being deported myself. Of course I did have fear for my family, but I knew I had citizenship status. Because of my status, I was able to receive plenty of aid from school, as well as choosing the school of my liking. I did not have to worry about being limited to what college I wanted to go to. Whether it was a community or a university.
Two: Driving. I had the privilege to get my drivers license at the age of 16. I can freely drive where ever I need to go. Driving to school, work, or the hospital with no fears of getting pulled over was something I did not have to worry about.
Three: Healthcare. I can apply to receive healthcare in order for me not to pay thousands of dollars out of my own pocket. Healthcare is number one in my books in terms of Latinx privilege. Why? Because most undocumented Latinos cannot apply to receive said care. So they pay straight out of pocket. Most times, they don’t even go to the hospital because they cannot afford it. Thus, they rely on their own traditional remedies to help cure them.
Four: Social class. Given that my parents are immigrants, they did not grow up middle class, but I did. I went to a high school where there were a lot of different programs for kids, and endless opportunities to gain scholarships for college. My parents worked their asses off so that my younger sisters and I could have a better life than what my parents had when they were kids.
Although,where I grew up is a small white town where elderly white folk retire, Latinx students like me gained opportunities because of the fact that the Latinx community was growing so rapidly.
Latinx privilege was something my parents made sure we knew about and made sure we did not take for granted. A privilege that was always spoken about from our parents to me and my younger sisters. A privilege that made us different from cousins, aunts and uncles. A privilege that mi familia longed for in order to remove themselves from the shadows.
A privilege that became the mere topic of our familia dinners. A privilege that will always be held over my head because I know I can do more than what my cousins, aunties and uncles could. A privilege I did not want and a privilege I sometimes did not understand.
Although there are countless examples of Latinx privilege, these are just a few I have noticed from my own lived experience.
It is important to understand that while we do have families, friends, and parent’s who do not have the same opportunities like our privileged selves, we must fight to continue to push these barriers. It is important for other Latinx like me to acknowledge our privileged selves.